The Soapbox: What’s climate got to do with voting?

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The Soapbox

Screen Shot 2017 03 06 at 6.58.40 PMStand up. Speak up. It’s your turn.

The election on November 8th decides who will have the power to change policy on a state level, and climate change is on the ballot.

New England is warming faster than the rest of the country. Parts of our state are facing drought conditions, flooding on the Seacoast is worsening, and our utility rates are through the roof. Climate change is already happening and New Hampshire doesn’t have a plan for it. Some legislators attempted to pass bills to create a climate action plan and reduce greenhouse gas emissions but all of these attempts were blocked. Yet we know from polling that most NH residents want our state to do something about climate change, which means that the majority of state legislators are not representing the will of Granite Staters.

Who we vote for from Governor to State Representative and all the way down the ballot will matter. So many state-level efforts to protect NH’s natural resources failed because there are representatives in our government who don’t listen to their constituents. Despite bipartisan efforts to protect lakes and rivers from landfill pollution, Governor Sununu vetoed a bill that would have established stricter rules for how close a landfill can be to a body of water. Given that millions of NH visitors come here because of our beautiful lakes, this decision was remarkably shortsighted and, frankly, shameful. Can we claim to love the beautiful mountains and lakes of NH if we vote for politicians who won’t protect them?

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On the House Science, Energy, and Technology Committee, there are members who still don’t believe that humans are impacting the climate. Michael Vose, Jeanine Notter, Mike Harrington, Doug Thomas, and Fred Plett blocked funding for energy efficiency initiatives, voted against solar energy expansion projects, and even sponsored legislation that would restrict NH from being allowed to join any regional efforts to reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions. Their interest in propping up the fossil fuel industry and blocking renewable energy progress means NH is far behind its surrounding states in addressing climate change.

Ignoring climate change hurts everyone in NH. Should our farmers be left on their own to deal with drought conditions and pests that are getting worse each year? Are we willing to turn our backs on the skiing industry that many rely on for their livelihoods, as winter seasons grow shorter and snowfall decreases? Can communities on the Seacoast continue to deal with ever more frequent and damaging floods? These conditions WILL get worse if we do not do not take action.

We need representatives who take climate change seriously because the difference between action and inaction means thousands of people suffering. NH residents: go vote on November 8th for the sake of our people and our environment.

About this Author

Emma Shapiro-Weiss

Emma Shipiro-Weiss is a field organizer at 350 New Hampshire, a multigenerational movement working to advance a just transition to a renewable energy economy and an end to our society’s dependence on fossil fuels. We are building the movement for climate justice and working for local and national systemic change.